Judy & Liza
Wakefield Theatre Royal, Feb 28
Think Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and automatically three things jump to mind: mother and daughter, astonishing talent and deep rooted troubles.
In a reimagining of one of the most incredible concert performances ever staged, Emma Dears has created a show which encapsulates these elements and more, with an abundance of song, a treasure trove of anecdotes and a whole lot of rainbows and cabaret.
“I originally created the show in 2010,” Emma - who plays Liza in the show alongside Helen Sheals as Judy - explains.
“My background lies in West End theatre with shows such as Miss Saigon and when I worked there, a lot of Americans would come to Stage Door and say how much I reminded them of Liza.
“I just got to reading about both of them and this fascinating mother/daughter dynamic appeared; in many ways, in their case, it’s a relationship that has been sort of reversed. Then there’s the whole catalogue of timeless songs that were at my disposal, so I thought ‘why not do a show about them both?’ It’s been great fun to write.”
Judy & Liza was showcased at The City of London Festival 2010 and from there it has gone on to receive fabulous reviews across the country. This time out Downton Abbey actress Helen Sheals plays Garland, having already played the legendary star in a different show.
“Helen is fantastic and has just finished playing older Judy in Judy, Judy, Judy in Leicester Square. She’s also a massive Judy Garland fan so has a lot of love invested in the character and the show.”
Emma is keen to stress, though, that neither she nor Helen are trying to impersonate either Garland or Minnelli but are instead trying to emulate them.
“We don’t want the show to be made up of two caricatures,” she says, “but there is one thing that I do always say before going on stage, just so I can get into the zone as it were.
“That word is ‘Fabulous! Once I’ve said that as Liza says it, I’m full on Ms Liza Minnelli and happy.”
For tickets go to www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk or call the box office on 01924 211311.